Yesterday on The Howard Stern Show, guest Jason Alexander opened up about working with Heidi Swedberg, who played his on-and-off girlfriend and fiancée Susan on Seinfeld. According to Alexander, Swedberg was a “wonderful girl” but nearly impossible to work with in scenes, which ultimately led to her character getting killed off in the show:
After every episode we’d all go out – not the guest cast – but the four of us and Larry would go out and have a bite to eat and we would just bitch about everything. And I kept saying “I’m going out of my mind, you guys. You’re killing me. I can’t understand how to play off of this girl. I’m sure that this stuff is not working – it can’t be!” And they’re going “It works great, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” I was the only actor doing scenes with her … and finally they do an episode where Elaine and Jerry have a lot of material with her, and they do the week and then we get to the restaurant afterwards and they go “You know what? It’s fucking impossible. It’s impossible!” And Julia actually said “I know, don’t you just wanna kill her?” And Larry went “Kabang!”
The story got picked up by tons of news outlets after Alexander’s interview, and now he feels kind of bad about it, having posted a lengthy response via Twitter titled “Oh dear God, leave Heidi alone” explaining that it’s not the actress they wanted to kill but the character. Here’s an excerpt:
But in telling this story, it sounds like we are putting a heavy burden on Heidi. I, personally, am not. Heidi would always ask if there was anything in the scenes she could do or if I had any thoughts. She was generous and gracious and I am so mad at myself for retelling this story in any way that would diminish her. If I had had more maturity or more security in my own work, I surely would have taken her query and possibly tried to adjust the scenes with her. She surely offered. But, I didn’t have that maturity or security. And, Larry and Jerry would probably have killed me as it was all playing exactly as they wanted. Clearly Susan and George were coming off just the way they wanted.
Listen to Alexander’s less flattering remarks from Stern Show below: